Odedina takes role at Oneworld

Odedina takes role at Oneworld

Sarah Odedina, former m.d. of Hot Key Books, is to join Oneworld in the role of children’s publisher, overseeing its Young Adult and children’s publishing. Oneworld announced last year that it would launch a YA imprint, Rock the Boat.

Oneworld publisher Juliet Mabey said hiring Odedina was like “sticking our flag in the ground” because she “is one of the most highly regarded editors in the children’s book market, and having someone of her quality shows the trade how much we really want to publish great books”.

Odedina stepped down from Bonnier’s Hot Key imprint in November last year, with neither side prepared to comment on the move. However, she said she was looking forward to the new challenge: “I’m really excited about the future. It will be different but great for everyone involved. Oneworld has such great publishing integrity and it publishes a wide range of really good and important books. I am hoping to publish the books I’m known for doing, with strong story and voice, plot-driven books that leave readers with a great sense of satisfaction on many levels.”

Odedina will oversee the publication of Rock the Boat’s first four books: Conversion by Katherine Howe and Mindwalker by A J Steiger in June, then Minus Me by Ingelin Røssland and Nest by Esther Ehrlich in July. It also hopes to publish four further titles at the end of the year.

The plan is for Rock the Boat to publish around 15 children’s and YA titles a year, but Odedina and Mabey agreed that the split between the two categories would be flexible and dependent on the quality of submissions. “We might see a good picture book or board book, and we will definitely be interested in young chapter books,” said Odedina.

Both women also agreed that prizes were something the imprint would aim for, with Odedina saying it would be “lovely” to win awards. “I have edited six Carnegie winners and I think [that award is] something to aspire to. I hope to have a list that gains international recognition as well, and I am positive about publishing American and other foreign authors. “

Books will retail for between £6.99 and £8.99 in paperback and e-format through bookshops and online, and Mabey has hired Kate Beal, formerly of Walker Books, to head sales. Mabey has also employed Angel Publicity to launch the list and is building a Rock the Boat website (scheduled to go live in June). She will additionally look to engage with YA fans and book bloggers via social media.

Mabey is confident there is space for Rock the Boat—a small list with “brilliant books”—in the expanding UK children’s book market. “In an era when publishers are getting bigger and bigger there is always space for small independents . . . We are not obliged to publish 120 books to keep the accountants happy,” she said.